From the article by Miss Rosen for blind magazine:
An artist of singular vision and uncompromising integrity, James Bidgood charted his own path, living as an openly gay man at a time when it was illegal to do so. Whether working as a female impersonator, window dresser, fashion, costume, and graphic designer, photographer, photo stylist, or filmmaker, Bidgood brought a love of glamour, fantasy, and spectacle to every aspect of his life.
“It is hard to understate Jim’s legacy!” says Brian P. Clamp, Bidgood’s gallerist. “He was such a creative inspiration to experimental filmmakers and photographers of many generations. He represents an integral part of queer history. Drag queens in the 1950s did not get pension funds. Jim and gay people of his generation had to figure out how to forge a life for themselves in a society that did not recognize them or care to see them at all.”
Prefiguring the work of Pierre et Gilles, David LaChapelle, and Steven Arnold, James Bidgood celebrated homosexuality in every aspect of his art. His vivid palette of rainbow colors, use of extravagant costumes, sets, and props belied that humble space in which the work was made. It was a skill he mastered growing up in Madison, Wisconsin during the Depression. Although the family was poor, Bidgood’s mother graciously gave her son a precious gift: a set of paper dolls for which he begged. Inspired by the opulent theatricality of Busby Berkeley musicals, Bidgood transformed an old cereal box into a Techincolor set for his paper dolls. It was a revelation of things to come.